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BUB by Natalie Babbitt Kirkus Star


Or The Very Best Thing

by Natalie Babbitt & illustrated by Natalie Babbitt

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 14th, 1994
ISBN: 0-06-205044-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

The King and Queen are at odds: he says "too many toys" will make the Prince "soft and silly"; she says the many lessons with the King will leave him "dry and dusty." Still, they agree on one thing: "I only want what's best for him." And what is that? Dressed in medieval splendor, they take a thoroughly modern palace poll, with predictable results: the nursemaids recommend vegetables and sleep, the gardener sunshine, and so on through a list of indispensables; only the cook's daughter has the sense to suggest asking the royal toddler, who responds "Bub"-- a mystery to his parents, but not to the girl, who hears "Love." The meaning is delivered rather directly, but Babbitt lightens it with wit in her slyly honed dialogue, and with a jester -- a perfectly observed golden retriever sporting cap and bells -- tagging along to clown appealingly in each of the pertly ironic illustrations. "Not to mention the dog," says Babbitt in dedicating the book to her human models, and she doesn't; all the same, it's a delight and steals the show, as she doubtless intended. (Picture book. 4-8)